TEL AVIV, (BM) – Russia’s anti-aircraft missile system S-400 continues to be of interest to many countries around the world, as it is believed to be the best defense system at the moment. BulgarianMilitary.com wrote earlier this year that the two Gulf states, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are showing serious interest in buying these systems.
Most recently, the online news agency Eurasia wrote that the interest of the two Middle Eastern countries has changed dramatically with the S-400 air defense systems, and they no longer want to buy them. Information has appeared in international publications that the two countries are taking steps to withdraw from negotiations to acquire the Triumphs and are moving towards negotiations to acquire Israeli Iron Dome air defense systems. Such information also appeared in the annual reports of both countries. The reason for the new interest in the Israeli Iron Dome can be found in various forms, but one of them is the proven combat effectiveness of the Israeli air defense system in recent years in the Middle East and its fight against unmanned aerial vehicles, aircraft and missiles.
Another main reason is the normalization of diplomatic, political and military relations between the Gulf countries and Israel, which leads to increased interest in the Iron Dome not only on both sides but also on other countries of the world. Such information is spread widely among the Israeli media as well. A number of reports by the Israeli military, as well as by analysts in the region, share the general view that “full trust” between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel is far from a concept in diplomatic relations, but it is gradually beginning to build. take considerable time to achieve.
One of the worst-hit countries in the field of air strikes in the last 24 months is Saudi Arabia. Yemeni Houthi drones and missiles have hit oil refineries, warehouses and some airports in the past two years. The Saudis have the greatest interest in buying such systems, as it turned out that the American air defense system Patriot can not meet expectations for quality air defense. We would look for a possible reason for the interest in the Iron Dome from the Saudis and the fact that the United States also recognizes the superiority of the Iron Dome over Patriot, after deciding to work with Israel to renew and modernize the Israeli air defense system.
The armament of Israeli air defense systems is also an important fact. The Barak-8 missile is a joint production between India and Israel, and in recent years this missile has shown that it accepts the challenge of “Israeli enemies” and can handle almost anything they [the enemies of Israel – ed.] Are armed with. . We are talking about all kinds of air attacks – helicopters, planes, drones, ballistic and cruise missiles and more.
However, military experts and experts see a completely different reason in the desire of the UAE and Saudi Arabia to acquire Israeli air defense systems and abandon their Russian S-400s. It is a question of the expressed desire of both parties to acquire a fifth generation F-35 fighter. For that to happen, there is no way Washington can sell the two countries the fighter jets they want if they have Russian defense systems. See Turkey as the most illustrative example.
New era in the production of the Israeli Iron Dome missile system is coming
As we reported in August this year, American company Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Israeli defense company Rafael have signed an agreement to establish a joint venture (JV) in the United States to produce the Iron Dome air and missile defense system. The new joint venture was named Raytheon RAFAEL Area Protection Systems (RRAPS). The site is expected to be selected by the end of the year.
“This will be the first Iron Dome all-up-round facility outside of Israel, and it will help the U.S. Department of Defense and allies across the globe obtain the system for defense of their service members and critical infrastructure,” Sam Denecke’s Raytheon air defense equipment and facilities.
It is assumed that the enterprise will produce both the base version of the Iron Dome with the Tamir interceptor missile and the Sky Hunter anti-aircraft guided missile, which is a variant of the Tamir developed in the USA. Raytheon said both missiles are capable of intercepting cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, artillery shells and mortar mines. As noted in the press service, the cooperation between Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Rafael in the development of the Iron Dome has been going on for more than ten years.
“We are excited about this new stage in our partnership with Raytheon and proud of our U.S. production,” said Brig. Gen. (res.) Pini Yungman, executive vice president for Air and Missile Defense of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. “We have long partnered on U.S. production of Iron Dome and are pleased to increase manufacturing and bring SkyHunter to the U.S.”
In 2019, the US Ground Forces announced their intention to purchase two Iron Dome batteries, the signing of the corresponding contract became known in August. Both batteries are expected to be tested in the US next year and deployed in September and December 2021, respectively.
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